Twins Transform Boston’s International Market

By: Category: AirlinesAirports Around the WorldSpotting

QTR A359

Boston, Massachusetts is distance-wise the closest large city between the United States and Europe.  Although the metropolitan area doesn’t have the same business density and population when compared to New York City, the largest city in New England has long had international airline service to Europe and Canada.  In the recent past, an explosion of new nonstop city-pairs have emerged for the flying public, fueled by the expanded use of the newest generation of twin-engine airliners.

With ETOPS, which originally stood for Extended Twin Engine Operations (which extended time flown over water with less than three engines) the past requirement of needing to use jets with at least three engines to take the most efficient oceanic routes between continents has been bypassed as long as the airframe/engine/airline company combinations have been specially certified.  In fact, twins over water is the new norm, it seems. Here’s a look at many examples of this expansion with newer nonstop routes.


Boston and Canada

In 1934, Central Vermont Airways began air service between Boston and Montreal QB, Canada, initiating international airline service at Boston.  Over the years, passenger traffic built up enough to offer smaller jets to operate effectively, although the use of smaller propeller-driven aircraft also made sense.  Air Canada used their DC-9-30 jets for many years, connecting Boston with major Ontario, Quebec and Canadian Maritime cities. With the advent of the Dash 8 turboprop and smaller regional jets like the Bombardier CRJ-200, the DC-9s were withdrawn and more trips with smaller aircraft occurred.  Today, mid-sized regional jets such as Embraer E-175s and larger turboprop Q-400s are the norm, although Bombardier CRJ-200s and Dash 8s serve some markets.

Boston and Bermuda

JBU A320

American Airlines began Boston to Bermuda jet service in B-707 airliners in 1977.  Today, Delta A-319s and JetBlue A-320s twins make round trips with ease.

Boston and the Caribbean

AAL A319

Narrowbody Airbus A-319s and A-320s operate to over a dozen countries in the region; JetBlue, Delta and American all have departures from Boston.  An occasional Embraer E-175 or E-190 serve Nassau, Bahamas too. New entrant Norwegian  links Port-a-Pitre and Martinique and Boston with B-737-800 service.

Boston and Central/South America

CMP B737

New service since 2015, with COPA Airlines serving Panama City with B-737-700s, and Aeromexico operating B737-700s to Mexico City too.

Boston and Asia

CHH B788

These are all new routes with the introduction of the newest Boeing long-range twin jets.  Japan Air Lines operates B-787-8s to Tokyo, Hainan Airlines flies B-787-8s to Beijing and Shanghi, and Cathay Pacific uses B-777-300ERs to Hong Kong.

Boston and the Middle East


Another new market for the city, Emirates operates B-777-300ERs between Boston and Dubai, while Qatar Airways flies new A-350-900s between Doha and Boston.

Boston and Europe

ICE B752

This is where the service has changed a lot since Boeing’s B-767 first began ETOPS operations.  Later, B-757 and B-777, plus Airbus’ A-300, A-310 and A-330 equipment was introduced.  Long gone are the narrowbody B-707s and DC-8s; Icelandair operated “Stretch Eights” into Boston the latest of all major carriers, then replaced them with some of the first B-757 service to/from Europe. Early Boeing B-747s, plus Lockheed L-1011s and Douglas Commercial DC-10s took over from the narrowbodied 4-engined jets for a few decades.  Northwest operated many B-747s and DC-10s, Delta used L-1011 Tristars, and TWA flew L-1011s and B-747s (including B-747SPs) until replaced with early A-330s and B-767s.  American Airlines replaced DC-10s with Airbus A-300-605s for a time too.


Many national carriers flew their largest jets into the New York market, and relied on code sharing partners to offer connections for their passengers to smaller cities. Today, longer, leaner routes are served well with the improved efficiency on newer-engine twins. This originally led to new nonstop service at Boston with twin jets, usually Boeing B-767 and B-777, or A-310 and A-330 equipment. Other larger, older equipment was downsized too, for improved efficiency. Newest versions of the Airbus A-330 seem to have replaced many older B-767s and A-310s. Even in 2016, SATA has just revised their equipment from an A-310 to new A-330 service from various Portuguese cities. Virgin Atlantic will inaugurate Manchester UK to Boston with A-330s, and Eurowings will do the same between Cologne and Boston.


Narrowbody service to/from  Europe is a relatively new phenomenon. One of the original B-757 operators, Icelandair, was joined by British Airways a while back.  Now, American Airlines and Aer Lingus also operate these twins on different routes. New service includes WOW and their A-321s from Keflavilk, Iceland.  SAS, using a Privatair B-737-800 configured with 92 seats, has begun service from Oslo Norway and Boston, this will change to a slightly smaller B-737-700 in time.  New JetBlue Mint A-321 service to San Juan will begin late in the year too.

NAX B738

Better efficiency through new engines and airframe designs have helped to open new routes between Boston and the world. Virgin Atlantic introduced the stretched B-787-9 aircraft on a route last summer. Norwegian has initiated new B-787 and B-737 service within the past year. Other airlines that have made Boston a new destination within the past few years include Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, WOW, COPA and Aeromexico.  All of these airlines operate newer twin jets on their routes, which weren’t financially efficient just a few years ago. And so Boston’s international travel market has exploded with new nonstop flights to places all over the globe.




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